Top Five Things New Authors Learn by Ginger King

This is not an official list.  It wasn’t put out by a major publication after significant research.  It’s just my list of the things I’m learning and re-learning as I’m still quite new as a writer.
1.  No one else can or will promote your book like you can.

No one is as passionate about what you’ve written as you are.  No one knows the story the way that you know it.  So who better to talk about it, do interviews, and make or approve videos to be used in promotion.  Problem is you may not have the skills or the time.

2. Getting published is only the first hurdle.
Now you have to get noticed.  There are so many titles out there that your book becomes a tiny pebble.  At least at first, you may feel like it is lost in the vastness.  Unless you’ve learned that you should have a promotions plan that begins six or nine months before your book is ever released, you may be scrambling to find the proper outlets for promotions.  Hopefully these will get you off to a running start.

3.  Getting reviews isn’t as easy as you think.

So a cadre of family and friends, local book clubs and online readers have purchased your book.  Everyone promises to give you an honest review but weeks later, you’re not finding anything out there on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc.  You have to circle back, ask again, and possibly ask new readers as well.  Hopefully you are developing a list of contacts and trusted advanced readers, folks who are really interested in your work will likely want to help you succeed.

4. Editing is best left to professional editors.
It’s your job to get the story recorded as completely as possible using the best grammar you can as you go.  When you re-read and edit it yourself, you will see words that are not there and you will see words correctly that are missed spellings.  It’s just how our brains work when we are intimately familiar with the writing.  So it’s best to leave the editing to fresh eyes who look through your work critically from the editing perspective.
5.  There’s no cookie cutter pattern for churning out books.
We new writers, tend to look at successful novelist in awe and see the number of books they’ve written.   Wonder then ensues as to their method for getting so many novels published in such a short time.  Each author has their own strategy and their own best time of day/place to work.  Each author has to understand their own deadlines and their own desires for when the book should be completed as well as knowing when to consider it completely finished.  It is easy to continually develop and deepen characters but we have to learn when to stop, when it satisfies, or leaves the reader yearning for more.  Then it’s complete. Just don’t use the method of someone else unless you’ve tested it and know it definitely works for you too.
So I’m learning myself as a new author and I’m really trying to get through the second novel by reminding myself of each of these things as I go.  The one thing I know for sure is that continuing to write is what feeds my spirit and makes me want to write even more.  I can learn the rest as I need to.  These five are my focus right now.

Wish me the best will ya?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Top Five Things New Authors Learn by Ginger King

  1. Last things first: best wishes in your literary endeavors, Ginger.

    1. You’re right, no one knows me or my story as well as I do, so they likely won’t be as passionate about it, unless they sniff bestseller-Hollywood movie rights. It’s amazing how much passion is generated by 15% percent of millions of dollars.

    You’re also right in that many writers don’t have the skills or the time to promote, market and brand. Many writers tell me that they spend more time marketing and promoting than they do writing. To me, that’s simply wrong. I do what I can when I can, but I’m a writer first and foremost. A publisher is supposed to have the connections and the necessary skills/talent to promote. They don’t write novels, so without us they wouldn’t have a product to peddle. Yet even the big five publishing houses expect more from their writers, going so far as to ask about your social network in their submission guidelines.

    2. Yes, finding a publisher is only the first hurdle. It might even be the easiest hurdle to overcome, although it took me nearly ten years to find my publisher. I was told that I needed a website, so I got one. Then I was told I needed to blog, so I started blogging, in several places. Trouble is, so is every other emerging writer, so it becomes problematic: how does one set oneself above all the other writers who are doing the same thing?

    I have an Amazon author page, a Facebook author page, I tweet, and I have a page on Goodreads and at several other sites. In short, none of those help if the consumer doesn’t know who you are in order to search for you.

    3. No, getting reviews isn’t easy, unless one is willing to pay for them, and that opens the question as to their validity (honesty).

    4. A good editor is invaluable to be sure. The trouble is, finding one is as difficult as finding a good hair stylist. So far, the best editor with whom I’ve worked is me. My publisher has been very good at asking questions and pointing out inconsistencies in my manuscripts; but he’s also learned to give me great freedom in how I go about telling a story.

    5. No, there is no cookie cutter pattern for completing a novel. My early novels took years to write, before I learned to enjoy the process. Now I can complete a project in eight to 14 months. Of course it helps that my publisher has accepted every novel I submit to him, although my next one—which I hope to complete before this summer—might be the first one he turns down!

  2. I am so glad you are the first to respond! I always love your posts. Thank you for your insights. Means a lot to me. Especially hearing your response to number one. Tells me I’m not alone in how I feel. I just want to write and make my books the best things I write. I like having freedom of input up to even approval on some things but spending time promoting takes away from my writing the next book.

    Hope you have a great day J.

    • Thanks in return, Ginger, for your reply and especially for your kind words.

      I don’t get to respond to as many posts as I would like—life is what happens while we’re planning other things—but I couldn’t resist responding to yours because it really connected with me. I’m glad you found my comments helpful.

  3. All your points are so true. Writing is the fun, wild, crazy, absorbing, thrilling bit, like skiing downhill , but now you’ve got the long hard slog of climbing again.

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